Herbed Meatball Minestrone

My grandma is one of my favorite people ever. Every week she mails me a letter, some coupons she thinks I’ll be able to use, and an article or two from my hometown newspaper. Last week it was a recipe for Magnolia Bakery’s cupcakes and this one for Herbed Meatball Minestrone. I’ve been on a soup kick this winter and dove right in, my notes are included.(You’ll have to forgive the iPhone photo, I wasn’t expecting to share it.)


Herbed Meatball Minestrone

• 1/2 Tbsp fennel seeds
• 1 tsp oregano
• 6 oz. very lean ground beef (I used 16 oz.)
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tsp olive oil
• 1/2 C sliced onion
• 1/2 C sliced carrots
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 C canned whole tomatoes, including juice (I used petite diced)
• 1 C tomato juice (I used tomato sauce)
• 2 C chicken broth
• 2 C water
• 1/2 C acini pepe pasta (I used Domini, slightly larger)
• 1/2 C canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• 2 C washed, ready to eat spinach
• 1/2 C fresh basil, torn into small pieces (I used 2 Tbsp dried)
• 2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used asiago)

Mix fennel seeds and oregano into ground beef. Add salt and pepper and form into 1 1/2″ meatballs. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized, nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat (I used my Dutch oven). Brown meatballs on all sides, about 5 minutes. They will be cooked through. Remove to a plate and add onion, carrot, and garlic to pan. Saute 2 minutes without browning the vegetables. Add the whole tomatoes, including juice, and break them up with the edge of a spoon. Add the tomato juice, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Add pasta, reduce heat slightly and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add chickpeas, spinach and basil to soup. Return meatballs, stir and cook to wilt spinach, about 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in large soup bowls with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Make 2-4 servings.

PS: If you don’t plan on serving all of the soup at once keep the pasta separate, otherwise it will soak up all the excess liquid.


Shake It Up

There are things in my kitchen that are mainstays, like appliances, and some that are easy (RE: cheap) to replace to mix things up. One of my favorite things to use a variety of are salt and pepper shakers. Of course there are higher and lower price points, but I’ve found I can usually get a great set for under twenty bucks. These are on my radar.


58N Salt and Pepper Shakers


Black and White Mills


Mr & Mrs Muse Salt and Pepper Shakers


Stone Salt and Pepper Shakers


Studio Salt and Pepper Cellars


Owl Sugar Shaker, not for S&P but fantastic nonetheless.


Signet Stardust Rings

I have small hands, so while I appreciate chunky cocktail rings my day to day jewelry consists of more delicate pieces. Pieces like Andrea Bonelli’s Signet Stardust Rings. I love the hammered stardust points that take these rings above and beyond with some extra sparkle. All of Andrea’s jewelry is made from recycled metals and ethically mined gems, so not only can you look fantastic but feel great about doing so. (I’m also crazy about this bracelet!)


Rain or Shiny Umbrella

I’ve been looking for the perfect bubble umbrella these last few months. I once even bought one, only to take it home and find out it was broken. I like the little extra something this one brings to the table with it’s coppery raindrops.



Dip and I have a long-running torrid love affair dating back to my childhood. At family get togethers I would station myself in front of the always present vegetable tray. Armed with a lone strip of green pepper I would decimate the bowl of ranch dip, only interested in the veggies as a means to my mass dip destruction. These days I’ve moved on to more complex flavors – namely buffalo chicken – but am always looking for new adventures in dipdom. (As always, click on the photo to link to the original recipe post.)

All photos copyright of their respective blogs unless otherwise noted.